Challenging Students Appropriately

O2. – Offer appropriate challenge in the content area.

Teacher candidates plan and/or adapt curricula that are standards driven so students develop understanding and problem-solving expertise in the content area(s) using reading, written and oral communication, and technology.

To me, the HOPE standard O2 means that teachers challenge students by teaching the standards that are aligned with their grade. It is when a teacher provides developmentally appropriate challenge to the students. In my second grade classroom, I was able to model HOPE standard O2 by writing a challenging lesson plan and teaching it to students. Our class is tackling the daunting task of gaining skills of reading and understanding poetry. In this particular lesson, I used Elloise Greenfields “Things” poem to teach students how to infer in poetry. The lesson focused on inferring to make sense of parts of the poem. Students first learned the definition of inferring, followed by examples of inferring in “Things,” and finally, students made their own inferences in the poem. At the end of the lesson, students were to present to the class an inference of why they think the author kept her poem in the end, followed by a drawing. As evidence, I have attached:

(Things Poem LP) a copy of my lesson script,

Things” Poem,

and a sample student work Students Work Sample.

Kimberly B. Moore believes students should be appropriately challenged to help engage and enrich their success in learning. In her article “Policies and Practices: Helping Teachers Build a Challenging but Achievable Curriculum,” Moore emphasize active learning, engaging lesson, and activities that vary in levels. Moore suggests balancing choice (child-initiated) and guided (teacher-directed) activities in order to provide students with the most advantageous combination for learning. Reflecting on my lesson, I am able to evaluate how I challenged my students. My introduction of the word and definition of “infer” allowed students to understand the actual meaning of the word. In the examples that followed, students were able to gain deeper understanding of the word and its context. In the lesson, students were to make whatever inference they are able to find in the poem. By having students make their own inferences, I am allowing students to apply what they learned however they want (Moore).

Challenging students thinking will allow them to reach their maximum potential. It is important that curriculums are appropriately challenged while engaging the students in the process. Reflecting on my students work, both teachers and students roles are critical in this process. Teachers need to evaluate their student’s work accurately to respond with the appropriate curriculum. I was able to evaluate my student’s work and see whether their application of the word “infer” was appropriate (successful) or too challenging (not successful). In future lessons, I would challenge my students by offering poems from different cultural backgrounds. It would strengthen their knowledge of different cultures while learning to interpret them in the same way (Moore).


Moore, K. (n.d.). Policies & Practices: Helping Teachers Build a Challenging but Achievable Curriculum | Retrieved March 7, 2015, from <;.

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